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BOBBY PACQUIAO STOPS KELLEY TO RETAIN TITLE


PhilBoxing.com


Bobby "The Sniper" Pacquiao graduated into a marquee name himself than just the brother of a superstar when he stopped ex-world champ Kevin Kelley in the fourth round yesterday at New York's Madison Square Garden to retain his WBC Continental Americas super-featherweight title.

Pacquiao moved smoothly in the first two rounds, worked behind a pesky jab, then knocked down Kelley with a big left to the jaw in the dying seconds of the third, sending the American on wobbly legs. The bell, however, saved Kelley in that round, as he struggled to walk towards a neutral corner in a desperate attempt to return to his own corner.

Sensing victory, Pacquiao was all over Kelley starting in the fourth, then caught the Las Vegas resident with a two-punch body shot which felled the latter at the 1:24 mark of the round. Kelley, writhing in pain, failed to get up.

"He fought with true maturity today. He was cool and calculating, and he was in tremendous shape," reported Pacquiao's co-manager Rex 'Wakee' Salud in an interview with this writer moments after the fight. Salud credited Pacquiao's long preparation, and the more than 100 rounds of sparring for the victory.

Michael Koncz, Pacquiao's business agent in the US, revealed in a separate interview that after he had met up with promoters, it was decided that Bobby Pacquiao will challenge for a world title on August 4.

"Bobby was very focused and patient and followed the game plan to a tee. He improved from his last fight," said Koncz, who is widely credited for the younger Pacquiao's successful American campaign, which now includes three bouts in California, Las Vegas and New York.

The win improves the 25-year-old Pacquiao's record to 27-11-3 with 12 KOs while the 38-year-old Kevin Kelly, a native of Brooklyn, New York but based in Las Vegas, now drops his record to 58-7-2 with 39 KOs.

The bout was on the undercard of the Miguel Cotto-Paulie Malignaggi showdown for the WBO junior welter title won by the Puerto Rican Cotton on decision.


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Salven L. Lagumbay.


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